Flight of the Tatas? Really?

Breast cancer cell

Breast cancer cell. Not what Larry Flynt has in mind, I’d wager.

I was already simmering with anger about the trivialization and sexualization of breast cancer when I wrote yesterday’s post about men with breast cancer. My rage boiled over when I saw that a fellow rabble-rouser living with breast cancer, my friend Scorchy Barrington, had posted a link on Facebook about the single most tasteless breast cancer fundraiser I have ever heard about: “Flight of the Tatas”. (Sorry, I refuse to link to their site.)

Here is the first paragraph of the press release that was published in the Wall Street Journal online European edition under the disclaimer “The Wall Street Journal was not involved in the creation of this content”:

LAS VEGAS, July 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Larry Flynt‘s Hustler Club, the most audacious gentlemen’s club in Las Vegas, will host “Flight of the Tatas,” a topless charity skydive beginning at 7 AM on Thursday, July 4, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Benefiting the Living Beyond Breast Cancer Foundation, a nationwide non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women affected by breast cancer, the unique event will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most topless skydivers. LBBC empowers all women affected by breast cancer to live as long as possible with the best quality of life.

Participating in this display will be an “adult entertainment legend”, an “adult film superstar”, and a celebrity magician, “along with a bevy of brave and daring topless jumpers”.

The fundraiser is being sponsored by Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club & Casino and Hustler Hollywood, among others. It is taking place today, July fourth. This is supposedly a benefit to help Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC), but I could find nothing in the press release or the dedicated web site that indicated how much of the money raised would go to LBBC. In fact, LBBC is listed as a sponsor along with “Little Pussie Big Cock” and various of Larry Flynt’s Hustler enterprises (and others).

There is a “Donate for Breast Cancer Research” button on the home page. That’s all I found. I am writing to LBBC to try to get more information, but the event is today. I’ll post whatever I hear from them. I have rarely wanted more sincerely to be shown to be wrong in my assumptions. (The text of my email to LBBC’s development people is added at the end of this post.)

Now, I am not a “citizen journalist”. I am a woman who has metastatic breast cancer and a blog, a feminist with left-leaning social and political ideas. I have been known to displace my fear and anger about the cancer that is trying to kill me onto other targets. But even if that is what I’m doing now – so what? This strikes me as a very deserving target, indeed.

A more blatant example of trivialization and sexualization of breast cancer can hardly be imagined than a “Flight of the Tatas” in which “a bevy of topless skydivers” will attempt to beat the Guinness world record for jumping out of airplanes half naked and then land at a “gentlemen’s club” owned by that monument to taste and respect for women, Larry Flynt.

The event is today. By the time you read this, it will be over, most likely. Nevertheless, I’d like to hear your thoughts on it. Am I just an old school feminist? Is this as disgusting to you as it is to me?

Addendum: Text of my e-mail to LBBC’s development staff

I was extremely surprised to find out that LBBC is listed as both the beneficiary and a sponsor of Larry Flynt’s “Flight of the Tatas” event taking place today in Las Vegas. Can you tell me, please, what percentage of funds raised by the event was promised to LBBC and if this is a percentage of the net or gross intake from the event?

It seems an odd sort of event for a breast cancer organization to be associated with.
Please feel free to comment on the blog or to contact me directly. I am very interested in knowing how LBBC’s involvement with Larry Flynt’s Flight of the Tatas event came about.
Thank you very much.

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51 Responses

  1. heyjudyjudy says:

    There’s just something deeply and fundamentally wrong with Larry Flynn.

    • Knot Telling says:

      Larry Flynn was the very nice man who was principal of my elementary school. 😉

      Larry Flynt is a rich, powerful porn mogul, and I agree with you, Judy.

  2. That’s really disgusting. And offensive. And misogynistic. I’m also hoping that this association is not real.

  3. mariaratliff says:

    It’s disgusting, offensive & wrong. Period. Anything that Flynt does is sickening to me. You are correct in your assessment. Absolutely. You go girl! Sick ’em!!!

  4. Catherine says:

    Crass, offensive, and blatantly ignoring all women actually impacted by breast cancer.

  5. dglassme says:

    You freggin rock old school feminist!! Don’t let anybody tell you differently.

    I’d jump topless out of that plane but, the boys at the bottom would puke when they saw my mutilated breast hit the ground. That’s the true show, a Guinness world record on most topless women to jump out of the plane who have undergone breasts surgeries for cancer. Tuck some money in their underpants if you dear. Not nearly as entertaining you say. Didn’t know it was supposed to be entertaining…I’ll stop here would hate to ruin their hard on show.

    Sorry, let’s just say I’m displacing my fear and anger about cancer onto other targets.

  6. Lisa says:

    I am made uncomfortable when brave well meaning survivors bare their scars and tattoos on the web in an attempt to make others understand how devastating this disease is. This jump goes beyond disgusting. I’m offended that LBBC would sully their reputation by going along with this.

  7. Maxine D says:

    YUK! Totally and absolutely YUK – and I too would be suspicious about LBBC and the funding!
    Prayers and blessings

  8. First, I’d like to ask if I can get the paragraph that starts with Now, I am not a “citizen journalist…onto a t-shirt or a banner on my blog or something. Second, are any of these jumping topless women breast cancer patients with surgeries? Somehow I think if I jumped with my anti-reconstructed, rock band tattooed breast, it would not be popular. Hey Larry, I dare you to put my photos, available on my blog, into your little magazine, but you better pay all my current and future health bills first.

  9. jesse says:

    Lmao, u people need to prioritize ur time! Who cares how the money is raised? It is going to help someone’s life!! Hustler is trying to be unique. There are already tons of walks,runs,brunches, and what nots. The club is just doing what itsgood at. Please spend ur time on things that really effect and abuse women. Every last one of the women and me that did this jump were willing parties and it was for a good cause. Ur whole point is almost a huge waste of time. I wish u would use ur passionate views on something more worthy. Shame shame.

    • Knot Telling says:

      Jesse, there is a lot I’d like to say to you.

      First, I am very sorry about the username you chose for your email. I won’t repeat it here, but if that is how you feel about yourself, it’s a shame.

      Second, I think you may not be entirely truthful, since the jump did not come off as planned, and–as you can read in my next post–the event was not organized in conjunction with the charity they supposedly wanted to support.

      Finally, Jesse, please read some other posts on this blog. You can see what it’s all about there. I think it’s pretty worth, actually.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Hey Jesse – do you have breast cancer? Do you know someone who does? How about metastatic breast cancer? If it’s a “no” on any of those, then your opinion doesn’t really mean much. There is often little to no money given to research for these kinds of events. Try goggling “pinking” and see what you find. Then you might actually have an opinion worth sharing.

  10. Kelly jones says:

    Hello to all my name is Kelly Jones and I am the GM at Larry flynts hustler club las Vegas. If you have concerns and questions about this event please feel free to email me at kellyj@vegashustlerclub.com. Some background for you.my grandmother died of breat cancer and my mother is a breat cancer survivor. David arquette our celebrity host lost his mother to breast cancer and both of us take this awful disease very seriously. As for the amount of money we are continuing to take donations through the weekend and will be glad to let everyone know the amount of money raised when the event is over. Thank you for your concern: Kelly Jones

    • Knot Telling says:

      I am sorry for the loss of your grandmother from this terrible disease.

      Please read the next post on my blog. According to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club used the LBBC name and logo without their consent and did not contact them at all with regard to this event.

      As a person who has metastatic breast cancer, I do not view the actions of your business as very serious at all.

      If you really are the GM of the club, please read the next post in this blog and respond to LBBC’s charges.

      • Kelly jones says:

        While it is true that LBCC was not aware of this event prior to July 3rd when Kevin contacted me I was unaware of that fact due to being missled by my FORMER marketing manager. As I have said Kevin from LBBC contacted me and and they will receive a nice check from this event. I understand that this type of event isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but at least try to accept the spirit in which I intended it which was to raise money and awareness not to mock or trivialize.

      • Knot Telling says:

        Kelly, reading your reply is confusing. You wrote this on Saturday, July 6, 2013, but LBBC has stated that they will contact you on Monday, July 8th.

        (For anyone who is confused: please read the next two posts in this blog.)

    • I will send you an email telling you exactly my concerns about this event, and about breast cancer. And I will not give your event a dime.

  11. Brandi says:

    I was one of the proud jumpers, and I am not affiliated with the Hustler Club in any way. I was glad to participate with this event because it was to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness and life after. It was my privilege to be the last one to jump. I am only writing because I feel you are the one who is sexualizing the event. Men can be topless, but women can’t be? That is gender discrimination in it’s self.

    This was a simple case of a company, who cared about a cause, who did what they could do to help raise money for a worthy charity. Don’t discriminate any further by deciding who can or can not donate to a cause they are passionate about. You are only attempting to deprive those who will benefit from the money that was raised. Why would you blog to work against helping a cause that you act like you care about.

    If there was a child dying of something & needed a transplant of some kind, do you think the parent of that child would deny a healthy, liver, kidney, or lung, to help save their child, just because they didn’t like that persons occupational choice.

    Don’t work so hard to deny your community the funding they could actually use, to help a cause that you yourself are passionate about. It just doesn’t make sense. – Brandi

    • dglassme says:

      Hey last jumper, how much money was donated? And to who? And for what? Do you even know? Of course not because it was never coordinated. You were too excited about slinging your tits around to care about the details. I don’t need you using my disease to create your fucking entertainment. Raise a dollar for the cause but, you can’t even tell me how much of it, and where it’s going. A company who cared…and was trying to coordinate their event with said organization for donations the day before event, to no avail. Oh yeah, caring company. This was a what? Fund raiser? The plane was coordinated, the parachutes, the jumpers but, not the god damn charity of choice. Come on Brandi take a moment to think about this, put your cloths back on you’ve been had. They used you too, not just us.

      Why must nudity be associated with my disease? I don’t see yeah hanging your anus out for colon cancer. Oh, wait I better not give you any more creative ideas. The comments on this blog are from patients with the disease who are saying stop sexualizing our disease. Can all you boob swinging fools get that through your air filled heads?

  12. Matthew says:

    While I would not deny you your right to feel exactly how you feel, my own pragmatism reminds me that if one single life is affected positively by the money raised by this event, then it is worth any of the offense I or others may feel. Nor do I believe any effort to raise awareness and needed resources to fight this dreaded illness should be seen as trivializing it. Fireman may make a scantily clad calendar, or Musicians may make a record… The point is this illness has made comity of many strange bedfellows… It is indiscriminant in its choice of sufferers. So why then should we be critical of those who want to help in the fight?

  13. katherinembc says:

    I am one of 150,000 US people living with metastatic breast cancer which remains incurable in 2013. I don’t claim to speak for every person with Stage IV breast cancer. Like David Arquette, I also lost my mom to metastatic breast cancer–she had inflammatory breast cancer, a rare but aggressive kind that presents without a lump.

    As a practical matter, when a group holds a fundraiser to benefit a group, it typically has a specific reason for partnering with that non-profit. Why did Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club & Casino happen to choose Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC)? Could Kelly Jones clarify the vetting process?

    Many non-profits are struggling in this difficult economy. Y-Me, for example, closed down last year. And Susan G. Komen recently announced it is eliminating seven of its signature three-day walks in 2014, So, given the fierce competition for funding, it is surprising that no one at LBBC was aware the non-profit was partnering with the exclusive gentleman’s club. A most welcome largesse, I am sure!

    According to the press release, participants included “celebrity jumpers television and film star David Arquette, adult entertainment legend Jesse Jane, adult film superstar Ron de Jeremy, and Tropicana’s Murray: Celebrity Magician.” Given “The Flight of the Tatas” deep concern with fostering more breast cancer awareness and/or research, I am sorely disappointed that seemingly no member of the oncology community could honor Larry Flynt’s Huster Club with their presence. Imagine, for example, if the American Cancer Society’s Dr. Otis Brawley did a tandem jump with Dr. Susan Love. Now that would be some AWESOME awareness!!

    Given the scant amount of money allocated to metastatic breast cancer (the kind that kills 40,000 US people annually), I sure wish one of the few metastatic researchers could have at least joined Arquette in a show of solidarity at the Bootsy Bellows Roof Top After Party.

    Unfortunately Dr. Pat Steeg, one of our most prominent metastatic researchers is at NCI and thus a government employee. I’m sure it is posssible she might have been there in spirit, even if sequestration prevented her from traveling to Las Vegas. Dr. Ann Chambers would have been a great tandem partner for Dr. Steeg, but unfortunately she is London, Ontario, and thus would not have the July 4th holiday.

    The event also “attempt[ed] to break the Guinness World Record for the most topless skydivers.” Could this have potentially distracted would be supporters from “The Flight of Tatas” mission to support breast cancer research too? Perhaps a unilateral effort would have been the better option. I will certainly look forward to additional bulletins!

  14. Men can go around on the beach topless because male breasts aren’t sexualized the way women’s are. How many people would have given donations for “Flight of the Ta-Ta’s” if the jumpers were men? Would it have attracted the same level of attention?

    I remember the first time I saw the cover of a Hustler magazine. It was a drawing of a woman’s lower torso and legs sticking out of the top of a meat grinder. Larry Flynt has a long track record of profiting from misogyny.

    It is okay for women to be sexy. We are sexual creatures. The problem is when the emphasis is on having worth based on sexuality above all other human and feminine virtues. Slapping a charity on it does not override the problem. Would it be okay to have a black face competition as a fund raiser for the NAACP?

    For what it’s worth, Knot Telling had breast cancer and now has metastatic cancer. I have breast cancer. I am a mother of a 14 year-old girl. I don’t want money for my disease if it is going to come at a cost to all girls and women.

    Finally, Larry Flynt could have just given money to breast cancer research and called it a day. No ta-tas were required.

    • Brandi says:

      Some of the many jumpers were men.

      • katherinembc says:

        If the group was mixed–both men and women–perhaps the organizers might have considered a less polarizing name for the fundraiser. “Flight of the Tatas” sounds like a pay-per-view movie. Perhaps next year’s event could be retitled “Flight of a Serious Endeavor to Stop Cellular Chaos in Mammary Glands”? Ordinarily one might worry if that would fit on a tshirt, but obviously that’s not a concern here. Jesse Jayne’s captivating post-jump interview shows her scholarly interest in breast cancer, and heroic commitment to the cause: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bjcUOwKzfA

  15. Tracy Korhonen says:

    All the justifications in favor of this event, in conjunction with now knowing this event was not approved of, nor promoted by LBBC only proves the true motives behind this farce was self serving.

    • Brandi says:

      It was not self serving for those who actually participated in the jump, in an attempt to help raise money for a good cause. There were men and women there, all trying to make a difference. (I’m saying nothing about the people who put the even on) – My comment is just about those who cared to try and support the even, by actually paying, donating, or jumping themselves.

  16. dglassme says:

    Sorry Matthew, your pragmatism is off kilter. This company did not have a coordinated organization for donations, it falsely advertised that it did. Really, was the focus raising money, well then they did a pretty piss poor job at pulling together the primary piece. Oh but, I’m sure this event went over without a glitch for all other aspects. Why do you think that is? Because the only important part was bare chests falling out of an airplane.

    Yes, you are being flippant about our disease, Fireman aren’t raising money with scantily clad calendars because their dicks are being cutoff.

    • Matthew says:

      I guess I do not get where the anger is coming from. It seems misplaced IMO. is it their lack of organization that bothers you or their trade? If it is their organization, well then I also apologize for the haphazard organization of the relays for life my kids regularly participate in. They also may miss your high standard. But, if it is their trade, this seems a prejudice that the fight can ill afford. This disease you want to claim as yours will also afflict gamblers, smut peddlers and airheads. Therefore, like you they have an equal claim to want to participate in its eradication.

      • Knot Telling says:

        I cannot speak for the others, but the issues for me in writing the post were both general and specific. I will address them in a new post and will add a link to it at the end of this post.

  17. Brandi says:

    Just because “you” say that organization did not support this event, does not mean that organization wont be receiving a bit fat check in support of their cause. Check back with “them” next week, when the fundraiser is over.

    • Knot Telling says:

      It is not “me” who says it; it is the CEO of the organization itself. Please read the next two posts. Not every “big fat check” is welcomed by every non-profit.

  18. Scorchy says:

    To those ladies who have undergone chemical warfare and endured toenails peeling off, mouth sores, hair loss, and other equally horrific side effects; to those who lost one or both breasts to cancer and–reconstruction or no–will always be numb as a result; to those whose breast cancer returned after five or more years of being “cancer free”; to those who not only have disease in their breast, but their bone and lungs and liver and brain; and to those who live with the knowledge that they will die of breast cancer,

    Fuck these assholes.

  19. Knot Telling says:

    ADMIN NOTE: I deleted all the personal attacks from the comment threads. I will not close comments at this time, but please keep things on the level of civil, adult discussion. It’s fine to disagree, even vehemently. It’s not fine to call names. Deal?

  20. randiek says:

    Having planned a few events in my time (not BC related).. The beneficiary of the event attended the planning meetings and would sign off on activities. Having read the weak response from Larry Flynt camp it seems they forgot to advise (ask permission) of LBBC. They are due damages for having their name aligned with “Flight of the Ta ta’s”… Because anyone “Living Beyond Breast Cancer” would most likely as you can see from the passionate responses here would have anything to do with them if this was their idea, or they were promoting in their materials (like most beneficiaries do to get the word out about upcoming event).
    They would have been better off to raise awareness in their area of expertise such as VD, more in line with the Larry Flynt promoted lifestyle.

    • Knot Telling says:

      Hello, randiek and welcome to Telling Knots.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. As I say, I’m no lawyer, but it sure seemed like an infringement to me, too. I hope they can get some compensation for the (mis)use of their name and logo.

  1. 5 July, 2013

    […] I posted the text of my email to Living Beyond Breast Cancer about their supposed association with a topless skydiving event in Las Vegas that claimed to be […]

  2. 6 July, 2013

    […] the  Wall Street Journal online European edition. This was on Wednesday, July 3rd. I published a post about the event and my first thoughts on it on Thursday, July 4th.  Beginning on Friday, July 5th and continuing […]

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